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Cultural Spotlight: Tajik Funeral Traditions

by | Feb 1, 2019 | Cultural Spotlight, For Families

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Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.

But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.

This article looks at Tajik funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Other parts of the series are about Tunisian funeral traditions and Trinbagonian funeral traditions, among others.

Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.

Religious Beliefs

Islam is Tajikistan’s most common religion, with 90.4% of the population practicing Sunni Islam and 5.6% practicing Shia Islam. For this reason, most Tajik funeral customs follow Islamic traditions.

Preparation of the Body

When someone passes away, their loved ones prepare the body for burial on the same day as the death. They wash and wrap the body in white material and place the deceased in a burial box. Then, they carry the burial box in a funeral procession to the cemetery for the burial. Sometimes, mourners will dance together in a slow rhythm to symbolize their grief.

Tajik Funeral Traditions

The Tajikistan government banned some traditional Tajik funeral traditions. They can’t hire professional mourners, and funeral attendees can’t loudly wail, pull their hair, or beat their head while grieving at a funeral. They did these emotional grief expressions to show their love and respect for the deceased.

Additionally, they can’t have an excessive amount of funeral food or sacrifice cattle during memorial rituals. They’re also suggested to wear blue instead of black at funerals.

Memorialization Rituals

The deceased’s family has memorial ceremonies on the third, seventh, and 40th days after their loved one’s death, as well as on the six-month and one-year anniversaries of the death.


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